Should I spend more money on cast-iron wings?
Q. I can save money by buying stamped steel rather than
cast-iron extension wings for my new tablesaw. What do cast-iron wings
offer that steel wings don't?
A. Over the long haul, you'll find that cast-iron wings have at
least four valuable benefits that are worth the extra money. First, a
cast-iron wing is much more rugged and is more likely to remain flat
after years of use. You can inadvertently bend a steel wing by grabbing
it when you move your saw or by dropping something heavy on it, such as
a full sheet of plywood. Second, a cast-iron wing adds about 25 lb. to
the top of your saw table. That additional mass helps soak up
vibration. Two wings are even better. Third, a cast-iron wing provides
a dead-flat surface that's useful even when the saw isn't running. An
unplugged tablesaw makes a great assembly table, and a single cast-iron
wing adds almost 50 percent more flat surface area to the main table.
The ribbed surface on a stamped steel wing is anything but flat.
Fourth, believe it or not, a cast-iron wing is a convenient surface for
sharpening tools. Simply attach some sandpaper with low-tack spray
adhesive. The wing is flat, rock solid and more accessible than the
main table—perfect for lapping the backside of chisels and plane irons.